Benny Pate, a member of two Habersham County appointed bodies and a candidate for county commission, is out on bail after being arrested on a misdemeanor charge April 1.
Pate, 63, faces a misdemeanor charge of sexual battery following an incident March 29 in The Orchard, a gated community north of Turnerville.
A juvenile female and a male friend went to meet another male at The Orchard to go fishing in the pond, said Sheriff’s Lt. Matt Wurtz.
The group encountered Pate, who was on his golf cart.
“He asked if she wanted to go for a ride on his golf cart and see the golf course and she accepted,” Wurtz said.
The reported incident happened while the young female was on the golf cart with Pate, Wurtz said.
Wurtz explained the delayed arrest.
“He wasn’t charged until after his interview with Investigations,” Wurtz said. “All we had initially was a complaint.”
Wurtz said misdemeanor sexual battery can involve touching or simply inappropriate words.
Pate currently serves on both the Habersham County Planning Commission and the Habersham County Airport Commission.
“We have a called meeting on April 8 and more than likely we will add an item to the agenda to discuss his continued involvement on the planning and airport commissions,” said Habersham County Commission Chairman Stacy Hall.
As of Monday, Pate remains a qualified candidate for the Habersham County Commission District 1 seat, said Elections Supervisor Laurel Ellison.
AccessWDUN reached out to Pate for comment but so far has not received a response. This news story will be updated if a response is received.